Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


A New Spinning Song

 The fillet needs another pearl, the hand another ring,
    (Turn, wheels, turn, dusk in the red young sun!)
What are little hearts that beat and little lips that sing?
    (Turn wheels, turn, whirl till our whim is won!)
Flesh and blood and dusky eyes, childish heart and gay,
These shall turn our wheels for us and wither through the day—
    (Turn, wheels, turn, dusk in the red young sun!)

The pinnace needs a swifter sail, the fortress needs a tower,
    (Turn, wheels, turn, bleak in the sultry noon!)
What if all the woods are green and all the fields in flower?
    (Turn, wheels, turn, stilling the youth-time soon!)
Children’s strength and children’s lives are fuel that we burn,
More shall come when these are gone to make our great wheels turn—
    (Turn, wheels, turn, bleak in the sultry noon!)

Leisure-time and mirth are dear, flesh and blood are cheap
    (Turn, wheels, turn, black in the hopeless night!)
What if children break or die the morns we smile in sleep?
    (Turn, wheels, turn, over the hearts once light!)
Spinning flesh to gold for us, spinning life for bread,
Spinning hope and strength and breath along the endless thread—
    (Turn, wheels, turn black in the hopeless night!)

Credit


This poem is in the public domain. 

Author


Margaret Widdemer

Margaret Widdemer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1884. In 1919, she won the Pulitzer Prize, then known as the Columbia University Prize, for her 1919 collection The Old Road to Paradise. She died in 1978. 

Date Published: 1915-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/new-spinning-song